Departmental Instruction

DATE OF ISSUE:  03 February 1993


"Assets" cases are to be reviewed during the period February to early June.

"Assets" cases for the purposes of the DIR exercise are :

  • those assessed under the Assets Test ; and

  • those assessed under the Income Test but with assets within $10,000 of the prescribed assets limit and on less than maximum rate.

All other service pensioners are "income" cases.


2.The Assets selection run is scheduled for 30-31 January and forms will be sent to Australia Post for mailing on 5 February.  Issue of forms at this time will enable completion of subsequent action prior to the asset threshold statutory increase on 8 July, 1993.  If this date changes, you will be advised.


3.Reviews of "assets" cases are to be by means of an income and asset statement (form SP3).  This seeks full income and asset information from pensioners and is only to be used to conduct reviews of "assets" cases (including ad hoc reviews during the year).

4.It will be arranged for each Branch to have stocks of the covering letter for manual use where appropriate.


5.Issue of forms SP3 for "assets" reviews will be initiated from Central Office.

6.Forms SP3 will be produced for "assets" cases and despatched on 5 February, to allow for return and completion of processing by the beginning of June.  Cases will be selected for SP3 despatch automatically.  Forms preparation and mailing will be undertaken through a commercial mailing house and arranged by Central Office.

7.The forms SP3 will be despatched with an accompanying letter which will specify that the form must be completed and returned within 21 days.


8.Schedules of cases requiring manual examination will be produced.  These must be examined and forms prepared and issued manually as required, based on the circumstances of the individual cases.  Action records will be automatically registered for all cases appearing in this listing.  If a review is not to be undertaken in any case listed, the action record should be deleted as soon as possible.

9.The manual case listing will include:

  • suspension cases ;

  • special register payments ;

  • trusteeship cases (except where veteran/spouse is trustee) ;

  • overseas address cases (including Papua New Guinea) ;

  • unknown address cases ; and

  • manual method of assessment cases (other than 52 - Working Rule B).


10.A schedule of cases will be printed listing forms despatched, and showing the postal address.  This schedule MUST be retained until processing of ALL cases is finalised, as it will be the only proof of the address to which the form was despatched should follow up under the provisions of Section 54A be necessary.  Form return is to be recorded on PIPS, as this will be used for control purposes (including production of outstanding case listings and management information).  The schedule of forms despatched is not provided for control purposes.

11.Control of reviews will be by means of a CMS action record.  When forms are despatched, an action record will be created under process type departmentally initiated review assets (S152).  This action will initially be in Form Sent status.  Update of this action record through the various processing stages will enable control of cases to be handled automatically.

12.For "assets" reviews, a Classification type Departmentally Initiated Review Assets (915) will be used for the action record.  Regular statistical reports will be sent from Central Office to enable States to evaluate the status of the review exercise.

13.The review action number will be printed on the form SP3.  This action is only to be used for DRA processing, and should be updated to reflect each processing stage.

14.When a form SP3 is returned, receipt MUST be noted on the action record.  This may be done by accessing the Form Return (FR) screen.  Form return should be noted on the day on which the form is received.  This will place the action in Registration (RG) status.


15.Full CMS reporting facilities will be available by using attribute number 405 for the Assets Test review.

16.Branches should arrange for the production of an outstanding case listing 28 days after despatch of the forms, using the CMS Reporting Facility.  The pensioners listed on that report should be contacted by telephone about the outstanding form.

17.When telephone contact cannot be made, a further form is to be mailed to the pensioner.  This is to be accompanied by a letter issued under section 54A, requiring return of the form within 21 days to avoid possible suspension of payment.

18.Seven weeks after the initial despatch a further listing of outstanding cases should be obtained.  Files should be checked to ensure that the form has been sent to the correct address, and that no other reason for non-return is obvious.  If not, suspension action should be considered in accordance with S56 of the VEA.


19.It is expected that there will be cases with urgent actions which need to be processed during the review exercise.  If so, the review action (if in Investigation or Submission status) should be reverted to Registration status.  This is done by accessing the Assessment Control (AC) Screen and deleting the action assessment details (if a case is in Submission status, it will first be necessary to revoke the Submission transaction.)  The urgent action is to be processed using existing manual process codes, after which DIR processing may resume.


20.Questions 8 and 10 of the form and Parts A and B of the form request pensioners to provide copies of income tax returns.  Unfortunately with the current format of the Tax Pack there may be some difficulty in gaining the correct information needed for the Department's purposes.  It is recommended that each State acquire several copies of the 1991/92 Tax Pack as reference when processing forms.  The information should be contained in the pensioner's records and in the majority of cases the pensioner will include the information that has been supplied to his/her accountant for taxation  purposes.

21.When this documentation is not provided (and no explanation given by the pensioner) it will be necessary to check the file to ascertain whether the latest financial statements have been received.  If not, the pensioner is to be requested to provide the required documents or extracts from his/her pack.

22.Should financial statements not be held, pension should be either continued or reduced as appropriate on the basis of the SP3 information pending receipt of the statements.  Increases in pension should only be actioned at your discretion where financial statements are not held.


23.Some pensioners in this group have real estate assets for which valuations have been obtained from AVO.  These valuations are subject to annual review by AVO and the updated values are to be included in the "assets" review.

24.Processing of "assets" reviews and revaluations should be completed by the cut-off for payday 8 July 1993, the date of the Statutory Increase.  Timing of processing may be determined locally, having regard to case numbers and available resources.

25.In some cases the revaluation of the property will not be available before cut-off for 8 July 1993.  In these cases, the old value should continue to be held pending a revaluation.


26.Effective dates for processing of SP3 ("assets") reviews will be determined as follows :

(a)              where pension will be assessed under the Income Test following the review, the variation should take effect from the first pension payday after receipt of the completed SP3;

(b)              where pension will be assessed under the Assets Test following the review and an increase will result, the increase should take effect from the first pension payday after receipt of the completed SP3; and

(c)              where pension will be assessed under the Assets Test following the review and a reduction or cancellation will result, an effective date of 8 July 1993 shall be used.  (Please see GOSP Part 19 Effective Dates for further information.)

27.Where Asset cases lead to a reduction special arrangements should be made locally.  Cancellations and Reductions should be processed up to investigation status, but not submitted until the day following the BAL run which is scheduled for the weekend 19 - 20 June 1993.  This is to ensure that the SI increase is passed on automatically to those clients.

28.States will be notified immediately if any of the above dates change.

29.Revised asset valuations provided by AVO are to be included in pension assessment as follows :

(a)              any increased valuation which would affect the rate of pension payable should be included in the assessment from 8 July 1993 (regardless of whether the SP3 review has an earlier effective date in accordance with paragraph 28); and

(b)              any reduced valuation which would affect the rate of pension payable should be included in the assessment in accordance with paragraph 28.

30.It will be necessary for all States to keep statistics on the Asset Review Processing again this year.  The statistics that will be required are:

  • Number of staff used for Assets Review processing ;

  • Number of hours taken at each ASO level for Asset Review processing ; and

  • Actual hours and staff levels for overtime used for Asset Review processing.

31.It will be necessary to keep these statistics until the July cut-off.  It will also be necessary to keep all of the above information if any processing is outstanding at the July cut-off.

32.The contact officer for the "assets" reviews will be Helen de Gail on telephone (06) 289 6426.